The Glory of God

Romans 5:2  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
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Here is another privilege of faith, to rejoice in hope of the glory of God. To the natural man this may seem beyond all measure. But God, Who has given His own Son, does not bless by halves. It could not be so, nor ought it to be; for Christ now is the title of him who believes. One's own name is merged in that of the Son of God. He is the first to own his sinfulness and his ruin without Christ; but now that he has received Christ, he has the title to become a child of God. He is justified by faith. He has access to God ever open; and he stands in His perpetual favor. And now he learns from God's word that, if he look onward into the everlasting future, he may and ought to rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
This hope beyond all doubt is an immense thing to boast. But is it not a well-founded boast, if it rest upon Christ and Christ's work by faith? Nevertheless it is as simple as it is sure. It is no question of man's desert, but of Christ's; and Christ will not leave His own separate from Himself in heaven. He has already entered glory, and He will have those that are His own in the same glory as Himself. “The glory which Thou hast given me, I have given them” (John 17:2222And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:22)). Therefore it is that in Rev. 21:10, 1110And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; (Revelation 21:10‑11), the holy Jerusalem, the symbol of the glorified church, is seen “having the glory of God” in the day that is coming.
But we are also called to rejoice in the assured hope of the glory of God even now. It is now that we want its power in our souls. It strengthens us against the false and vain hopes of the world. There are few greater snares than human honor and praise; for they destroy faith. “How can ye believe,” said our Lord, “who receive glory one of another, and seek not the glory which is from God alone?” John 5:4444How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only? (John 5:44). So in John 12:42, 4342Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (John 12:42‑43), we are told that, although from among the rulers many believed on Him, yet on account of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory of men rather than the glory of God.
When Adam was in paradise, the glory of God was not set before him as a hope. He was placed in a garden of delights, where all was very good. He had a test of dependence and obedience. He was forbidden to eat of the tree of knowing good and evil, whilst free to eat of every other tree in the garden. Under this tenure he was to keep his first estate; but he fell, and all was changed. He became an outcast from Paradise, subject to death, and after death to judgment: as scripture elsewhere declares, both appointed to men, neither to man in original innocence. But even then grace interfered and held out another man in prospect, the Second man—the last Adam. From that day all permanent blessing from God is by faith, the faith of Christ; and till He came, it was altogether in hope, nor could it be otherwise.
But now the Son of God is come and salvation is a fact; a reality to faith before the day of glory when it will be manifested to every eye. Hence it is written that all sinned, and do come short of the glory of God. Mankind are on a footing quite different from Adam. They are born in a state of sin, and they add their own sins. They are out of the first estate of man, being exiles from Paradise. The goodly garden is not their portion, and of the glory of God they come short. There was no abiding in pristine innocence: can men stand before the glory of God? This is the only alternative now: to be lost as men are in unbelief, living and dying in their sins; or, believing in Christ, to be saved and to exult in hope of the glory of God.
Only Christ, only the gospel of God, can save any by faith. Hence the believer is now called by glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:33According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (2 Peter 1:3)), by God's own glory and by virtue. It is the love of God in the gift of Christ which wins a man when ungodly, careless, or hard. It is God's love in Christ which breaks down the proud heart (“by grace ye are saved”). But the glory of God in the future has the most powerful influence in the midst of present snares. Therefore has God revealed it as our hope through Christ and with Christ, to lift the soul above all existing attractions and depressions. He has called us by His own glory, and the virtue or moral courage that refuses the gratification of self, which is opposed to the will of God. We are therefore said to be sanctified unto the obedience of Jesus Christ no less than to the sprinkling of His blood. 1 Peter 1:22Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2).
How blessed then is the believer's portion! Though he had been in God's sight without righteousness of his own, positively unrighteous, he is now justified by faith. Such is the righteousness of God, Who gave His Son, and gave Him to die, that he might be not only forgiven but justified. He has therefore peace with God. He is humbled to the dust when he looks back on himself; but Christ is his peace; and it was made by the blood of His cross. Nor this only; he can approach God in perfect favor as his present standing, and he can boast in the hope of the glory of God for his unending future.
How strong the contrast with man as he is naturally, even if highly moral, benevolent, and religious after the flesh! For such men are either self-satisfied, because insensible to God as He is and to themselves as they are, easily compounding with Him for what they deem a little and inevitable sin; or they are in gloom and terror when they think of God as their Judge, and strive to earn mercy or a mitigated sentence by hard labor and penance beforehand. The true God is unknown, because the word of Christ is not believed, and the soul has never learned from the Spirit's teaching His value for the sacrifice of Christ. So precious is it in His sight that it procures peace for all that is past, favor for the present, and a place in the glory of God for all that is to come.